How to be Annoying on Social Media in Five Easy Steps

In the ever-changing sea of social media, techniques can change on a weekly basis, it seems. That sure-fire tactic that worked last month is now totally useless. But some things don’t change. I originally wrote this post almost three years ago, and even as I’ve learned more about using social media as an author (and worked professionally in social media), these points are still valid.

So in no particular order, here are five sure-fire ways to annoy your followers and alienate your readership. If you’re tired of the decent or even excellent success you’ve been having with your social media, then try these tips to make everything worse.

Write in ALL CAPS

All capital text is the type-written form of shouting, and shouting for no good reason drives people away by the hundreds. Why save all caps for only URGENT STUFF when you can confuse and irritate your fans by making EVERYTHING SEEM URGENT? Continue reading

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5 Types of Books to Make You a Better Writer

This is a re-blogging of a post I wrote a couple of years ago, but I believe the content continues to be valid. It’s said that writers should be readers – which is true – but just what exactly are we supposed to be reading? Here’s my take on books for writers:

A Craft of Writing Book

This is one category that I need to work on more. I’ve read a few books on the craft of writing, but it’s something that even the best authors can always get better at. If you want to get better at writing, then constantly writing is important – but a how-to writing book can help you strengthen your writing strengths, adjust your weaknesses, and point out mistakes you didn’t even realize you were making. Continue reading

5 Google Tips for Authors

The Internet is a writer’s friend. We use it for research, for social media, and for selling (and buying) books. I offer tips and personalized coaching for writers and their social media platforms, and so I thought I’d write a blog post along similar lines to help writers with their Googling.

Research Names

Some time ago I got into the habit of researching proper names before I used them in a story, and I believe it’s a good habit to have. I think it’s especially important in contemporary or historical fiction, because it’s very easy to accidentally name your character after someone famous (that you didn’t know about, but that one of your readers most likely will). I also recommend doing it if you want a fictitious town (or road or school) in a real place; like, say, you want your characters to live in small-town Nebraska, but you don’t want to make said small town an actual real place. Go ahead and research cities, towns, and communities in Nebraska so that you don’t accidentally wind up setting your story in a real place that you will then mispresent because you thought it wasn’t real. Continue reading

It’s Never Too Late to Get Organized

Just a quick post today, and one that is mostly me preaching to myself.

Do you ever have detailed plans and goals that you’re working towards, and then you get distracted or derailed? A lot of different things can pull you away from pursuing your goals. In my case, over the past few months, I uprooted my life and moved across the country, bought a house, had family come visit right after I’d moved in, and so on. Yes, that’s just an excuse, I suppose, but at any rate, I’ve fallen a bit behind on my writing goals for the past few months. Continue reading

The Nitty-Gritty of Writing: Spacing

It’s time for another nitty-gritty of writing post! Craft of writing and storytelling is important, world-building is important, and generally being creative is important. But so is the boring stuff like punctuation and spacing.

Spacing: One Space or Two?

Many people reading this, when learning to type, may have been taught to put two spaces after a period. Two spaces after a period harkens back to the 19th century (and earlier) when typesetters at printing houses had blocks of a fixed size to represent each letter and each punctuation mark. Typewriters were the same way. Even well into the 20th century, and even after typewriters and typesetting became more adjustable, the convention was still to put two spaces after a period.

On modern computers we can have proportional font – that is, wider letters like “W” take up more space than narrow letters like “I.” In fact, proportional font is usually the default setting in many word processing programs and on internet platforms. Older typewriters and typesetting generally had a monospaced font (each letter or other mark took up the same amount of space on the page); therefore, double spacing after a period made the text easier to read. Continue reading